New Principal Justin Cutts reccommended by staff, approved by RUSD board members


Mr. Justin Cutts addresses RUSD board members. Photo by Morgan Hawkins

At the April 20 district board meeting, Mr. Justin Cutts was officially hired as principal for the 2016-17 year. After an interviewing process with 39 applicants, the board approved this recommendation with a unanimous vote.

“He has come to us highly recommended by staff, parents and students where he has improved student relations, professional learning, management of over $800,000 for CTE grants and community relations. When staff did an on-site visit at Del Oro regarding Justin’s qualifications, the overwhelming response was positive, except for the possibility that he may leave,” Assistant Superintendent Colleen Slattery said.

Cutts currently serves as the Assistant Principal at Del Oro, where he has held the position since 2012. He has also served as Dean of Students, Assistant Principal at Placer School for Adults, social studies teacher at Del Oro, Technology Coordinator at Del Oro and is currently pursuing his doctoral degree in Transformational Leadership.

“You’re getting a wonderful person, a wonderful family. It will be a huge loss,” Del Oro Principal Dan Gayaldo said.

Cutts has been part of the Placer County community all of his life, attending Del Oro as a student, and is the brother of dance teacher Mrs. Halley [Cutts] Crandell. While multiple husband-wife teams have worked together on campus, this will be the first sibling duo in the school’s 11 year history.

“I think he’s a great, qualified candidate and I’m really excited to see his leadership this next year,” Crandell said.

Staff involved in the hiring process attended interviews and on-site visits for multiple candidates.

“We’re really excited about all of the programs we already have going at Whitney, so we were looking for someone who would build upon them and make them even better than they already are and bring it all together to make us an exceptional high school,” Language Arts Department Chair Mrs. Amanda Bannister said.

As the first new principal the school has seen since opening in 2005, teachers are looking forward to the changes Cutts will bring.

“Mrs. [Debra] Hawkins has done an amazing job building Whitney to be one of the top schools in the state in the last 11 years. With that said, the interview panel was looking for someone with the ability to be a dynamic leader of the faculty, community and obviously, the student body. A new face will bring energy to the staff, students and parents to take Whitney to the next level,” Mr. Jesus Armas said.

Immediately after accepting his new job title from RUSD, Cutts addressed the board members and attendees of the meeting.

“I’m really, really excited to get to know the people at Whitney and get started,” Cutts said.